Nottingham city centre hosts a showcase of Army life

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By Tracy Walker, Nottingham Post

Nottingham city centre stood to attention when shoppers were given an insight into life in the Armed forces.

Regular Army and Army reserve units from across the Midlands hosted a recruitment event in Old Market Square in a bid to showcase the many opportunities the military has to offer.

As part of Saturday’s event, visitors to the square were given a chance to experience the sensations of a training exercise.

They got to try out the Army’s new Oculus Rift technology - wrap-around virtual reality headsets which let potential new recruits see what it’s like to be a soldier in a tank on plains, for instance.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Richie Bowles, 47, of Loughborough, of 158 regiment 203 (Loughborough) Transport Squadron, said the aim of the event was to recruit people to be reserves.

He added: “The difference between regulars and reserves is regular is a full-time job and the reserve is something you do alongside your civilian career.

“We have had quite a bit of interest. Having the vehicles here is always a good attraction for the kids as well.”

Air Trooper Hansaupiri Maisema, 33, who is based in Milton Keynes, has been in 4 Regiment Army Air Corps for five years and is expecting her first child.

The air trooper, who has served in Afghanistan, said: “It’s good to encourage females to sign up and let them know they can do it and they don’t have to be GI Jane.”

Steve Taylor, regional operations support manager for London and the East of England, said: “We do well in terms of recruiting from Nottingham. The Government is pushing to increase reserve recruitment by 30,000.

“I don’t think people realise what the reserves has to offer. It seems people think it’s infantry-based but there are so many other opportunities for people, for the unemployed and we are recruiting up to the age of 55 now.”

Since 2003, no reserve soldiers have been compulsorily mobilised to combat. Anyone who has done so since has been volunteers.

Photo: Colin Avison

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